MTS has purchased the outstanding 26% stake in Uzdunrobita, the largest mobile operator by subscribers in Uzbekistan, from a private investor for USD250 million in cash. Previously MTS owned 74% of the cellco; as a result of the transaction MTS’ ownership has increased to 100%.
MTS acquired its 74% stake in Uzdunrobita for $121 million in August 2004. As announced at the time of the acquisition, MTS also signed a three-year put and call agreement with the remaining shareholder of Uzdunrobita – thought to be Gulnara Karimova-Maqsudi, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Kaimov – to purchase the outstanding 26% stake. An amendment to the original option agreement, announced in August 2006, extended the exercise period of the put option to 14 July 2008.
Uzdunrobita is the largest cellco in Uzbekistan with approximately 1.85 million subscribers as of 31 May 2007.